Profile of the labour market in the eight major Canadian CMAs
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Québec City CMA: Growth of the labour market
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Evolution of the Québec City CMA's labour force age groups
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Expectations were high for Québec City’s labour market in 2017 thanks to encouraging growth prospects for all economic sectors and the overall strength of the world's economy. The area managed to exceed those expectations. Some 4,300 new jobs were created in 2017. What’s more, the area’s unemployment rate dropped below 2008’s record 4.4%, reaching 4.2% (4.6% in 2016), placing Québec City first of Canada’s eight major metropolitan regions. The area also maintained the highest employment rate in Quebec, at 65.1%.
The primary pillars of Québec City’s economy stimulated the labour market in 2017, allowing it to reach a record 442,800 jobs. The services sector, which represents 87% of all jobs, generated more than 90% of those new jobs. This is due in part to the upswing in the financial and insurance; professional, scientific and technical; and administrative services sectors. These areas will continue to offer significant career prospects in 2018. As for the construction industry, it benefited from the launch of new residential and major infrastructure projects to stimulate hiring. Labour needs will only increase past 2018, as current and upcoming construction projects (road and transportation infrastructures, healthcare and education facilities, building complexes, etc.) are likely to last several years. The manufacturing sector also provided jobs, using the growth of various industry leaders to add new employees. Many manufacturers intend to continue hiring this year, but they will do so gradually to account for the uncertainty surrounding commercial agreements, the Canadian dollar, the availability of labour and the integration of new production technologies.
The general vitality of the Québec City CMA’s labour market is beneficial to workers aged 25–54, who saw a 0.1% increase in the number of available jobs in 2017. Representing more than two-thirds of jobs, this demographic also recorded an employment rate of 89.5%—the highest in Canada—and 91.8% of those employed workers had full-time positions. That said, the labour force in that age group has been fluctuating for nearly five years; last year, it dropped by 0.5%. This means that labour shortages in the 25–54 age group can be expected to increase. Employers need to respond to the situation by attempting to retain older workers and offer opportunities more quickly to younger workers. To that end, the number of jobs for people aged 55 and older jumped by 9.1% last year. Their employment rate reached 32.4%. Note that this is relatively low, suggesting that workers in this age group may play an even larger role on the job market in the coming years. As for jobs in the 15–24 demographic, they decreased by 4.9% compared to 2016. This can be explained primarily by the smaller active population of that age group.
The performance of Québec City’s job market in 2017 reflects businesses’ efforts to ensure their growth, expand their expertise and fill positions left open by retirements. These efforts are expected to continue; according to the Léger survey on the confidence of entrepreneurs, which was published on February 7 by Québec International, 77% of business leaders in the area planned to hire in 2018. This is up from the 66% recorded the previous year. Additionally, many of the area’s socio-economic players are starting to consider the transition to economy 4.0. In particular, the entrepreneurial and teaching sectors are looking to analyze the labour needs of today and identify the steps needed to offer training that can meet the economic needs of tomorrow. Future actions will not only help moderate the employment market, they will also provide interesting career prospects to Québec City residents and encourage youth to become interested in the businesses of the future.
With that in mind, the Québec City area will continue to stand out in terms of employment in 2018. Some 3,500 to 4,000 new jobs are expected to be created this year. As a result, the employment rate will continue to rise and the unemployment rate is anticipated to fall to 4% or less.